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opeless gaze, as if all solace and comfort bad | fect neatness and order. The windows were lied out of her heart.
kept as bright as ever, the vases were filled with It was Richard's little room
- that room
the freshest flowers, and Ruth's work-basket, which was kept in such beautiful neatness for books and music, were again brought forth to is return, to which Mrs. Ashton carried her. cheer ber solitude. Precious and cherished, no Here were his books, his pictures. His flute less, were the dear memories of her parents ; ay upon the table — his face beamed on her but they had both known of Richard's interest froin the wall. On the little couch lay the in their daughter, and she knew that their glove he had worn ; and a letter, half written spirits would rejoice that he, of all the world, to a friend was on his desk, dated on the very | would make up to her for their loss. ay upon which he went away.
Not even Mrs. Ashton's partial words could Ruth sat down and cried. The blessed min- have deepened Ruth's high opinion of Richard. istry of tears! How they soften the wild bit- She had seen him, for years, growing into a terness of a grief that fills the heart. How strong, tender-hearted, whole-souled man, worthey relieve the eyes that have seemed filled thy of any woman's perfect confidence and trust. with burning ashes. One hope seemed to come
No breath of evil had stained him. He was a back to her — the hope of Richard Ashton's good son, a good citizen, a good soldier. Such return. “ I shall not be quite desolate,” she a man could not fail of being a good husband; thought, as she recalled the many instances in and Ruth, in all her home desolation, took which he had appeared to love her.
comfort in the thought that she might share a Richard Ashton was so good — so noble
life so free from blame and reproach. different from the common standard of young
The -th regiment was coming home. men, that she was involuntarily drawn toward Ruth had received no letter since the kind, but him in a nearer bond than mere sisterly affec- brief note that her mother's death had called tion or friendly interest. More than once, she from Richard's pen. But his mother had heard had thought him on the very point of asking from him; and her maternal heart beat high her to become his wife, when some unfortunate
with pride and joy as she ran across the little occurrence would bring an unwelcome visitor, grassy enclosure that separated the two houses, or otherwise would stop his words. He had to communicate the news to one who, she knew, gone to the army with only a simple good-bye would best sympathize in her delight. and “ God bless you, Ruth!” — words that she
The girl sat in the neat little parlor, surcherished in her heart of hearts, yet could by rounded with all the home refinements that her no amount of love's alchemy convert into a parents had loved so well; the birds and flowers declaration. His mother loved Ruth well and they had tended, the piano which they had actruly ; and her dearest hope was that she would companied with their voices, the books they be her son's wife. Colored by this hope, she had read. All spoke of them, until she almost painted their future prospects with a lavish felt herself in their visible presence. Mrs. Ashhand; coupling their names together always. ton ran in, bringing with her a breath and a * Richard and Ruth will live thus,” she often fragrance of the fresh, clear summer air -- of said ; or “ Richard will have such a pleasant roses and carnations, her morning offering to home with Ruth,” until every one in Granville Ruth from her garden. She came to tell her and Waterbury believed that they were really the good news that Richard was coming home. engaged.
Tears and blushes were all Ruth's answer. She For Ruth herself, she had no more doubt of could not say to the mother all she felt. PerRichard's love than she had of her own.
haps she could not, had she been really engaged So, as I have said, when she sat down in the to him. As it was, there was still a greater lonely house, the night after the funeral, it was
embarrassment in expressing herself; and it not with a feeling of utter desolation ; for, afar seemed a real relief when the good, kindly off
, there shone upon her a ray of light from mother left her to her own thoughts. the heart of Richard Ashton.
Burdened by her own tender feelings, she After the first few days of tearful sorrow, sat, for an hour or more, wondering, unconspent in packing away the many reminders of sciously, what would be her first meeting with the dead, she settled down into a calmer state. Richard, and how she could speak to him of shock him. He had never seen her wear black, , come to such a haven of peace, after months and his favorite had been white. Often and upon the battle-field, or amidst the groans and often had she clad herself in some dainty white tears of the sick and dying, in hospitals. She dress, just to please his eyes, and the admiration had risen early, cut her flowers with the fresh she had elicited from his lips had been pleasant dew glistening upon their leaves, and sat down to hear, because it was sincere and genuine. by her window, half hidden by the blind, to
So she went to the drawer and selected a watch stealthily for the homeward bound soldier. plain white collar, thinking it would relieve the The sun was not high when the sound of sombre hue of her garments, so as not to strike wheels made her start. “ Richard is ill and him too gloomily.
they are bringing him hoine,” she said to her. Mrs. Ashton had said that she might expect self, as she unconsciously cowered in a distant him any hour; and Ruth, to get away from part of the room, lest her eyes should meet thoughts that oppressed her, began in a hurried some sad or dreadful sight. and absent way, to prepare various little delica- The wheels stopped. It must be at Mrs. cies which she knew Richard fancied, and which Ashton's door, for they had passed hers. Perher mother had always made a point of keeping haps it was his dead body they were bringing for him. Absent as she was, she succeeded, to his mother. Could it be? O, Gul, could that forenoon, in storing her little pantry with she be thus a third time bereaved ! Poor, poor things that she thought would best please the Ruth! How she trembled ! For worlds, she soldier's taste, after the hard fare to which he could not have risen from the dim corner where had been subjected. Ever and anon, Mrs. Ash- she had thrown herself down affrighted. ton would call out to her, in cheery tones from It was nearly two hours afterwards, before her window, where she was busy in pastry and she recovered herself sufficiently to go again to cake. She too was pleasing herself in fancying the window and look over to Mrs. Ashton's. how good home fare would taste to the palate All seemed still and quiet there in the genial so long used only to hard tack and salt beef. sunshine. She laughed at herself for her cowThus passed the day to the two loviny women, ardice. “ That was not Richard, at all," she preparing for the coming soldier.
said to herself. “ He has not come, and his Night came, but he came not; but, just at mother is crying alone for her disappointinent. ten, a messenger rode up to Mrs. Ashton's door I will go over and try to comfort her.” And with a note from Richard, saying that he would she threw on her garden hat and ran through be with her in the morning early.
the little gate that led to Mrs. Ashton's back * And why not to-night ?” asked the mother, door. Not seeing her in the little kitchen, she almost querulously. If you could come, why turned herself into a side room lying between not Richard ?” Of course the man could not that and the parlor. tell, and she had no resource but to run over She was bewildered by the sight she saw and tell Ruth, and wonder at what detained him. there. On the small couch lay a figure, scarcely
“ Be sure, Kuth, to spend the day with us, larger than a child's. A pale face, whiter than to-morrow,” she said over and over again; and the pillows, gleamed up from the couch. A blushing and tearful, Ruth consented to be pair of black eyes, intense in radiance and there.
sparkle, were turned upward to the face of a The next morning rose, bright and serene as man who bent over her, as Ruth thought, with a poet's dream of heaven. The sky was one a tender and touching care. The room was so unclouded blue. The birds sang in the trees, still, that even Ruth's light steps were hearil. the cows stood knee-deep in the clear pools of The man looked up; and spite of the bronze water, making as pretty a rural picture as ever tint, spite of the wasted form, spite of the thick, Hering painted. Ruth's windows slone bright matted beard, her heart told her that it was and clear, and her snowy curtains were flapping Richard. in and out, in the light summer breeze. The But who was this pale angel that lay beneath
ard, and he now came forward, greeting her “What is your name and age ?" gravely, yet kindly. He glanced at her black “I am sixteen, and am called Agnes Ray." dress, and a tear came in his eye; but none to
“ If I
marry you, now and here, I can protect hers. She was cold, hard, petrified into a you — but otherwise, it is possible that I cannot. statne. Grief for her dead parents might have Will you take me as a protector ?” thus affected her; but, in that brief moment, “ O, yes! keep me from those men, and I Ruth thought not even of them. All her being will bless you forever.” was swallowed up in the scene which she had The wedding group passed out at that mojust witnessed and which she might now witness, ment. Richard laid his hand imploringly upon if she would but turn those stony eyes upon it. the last two witnesses, and entreated them to
And still Richard stood, with grave, yet kind go back and witness his own. A brief word looks, as it uncertain what to say or do, until a
or two with the minister, and the ceremony sigh came to his ears from the couch. Then he was hastily performed and duly registered. hastily drew Ruth into the room.
“Now, Agnes, neither men nor devils shall “ Ruth, you are good and kind! Will you take you from me,” he exclaimed, as he pressed help me to take care of this child ? this little the first kiss upon the quivering lips of his feeble girl who is now my wife ?”
child-bride. “ His wife!” How Ruth's heart beat at the
He hid her, until the time came for his rewords. She had not much time to promise; turn, and then took her home to his mother. for a stream of red blood was issuing from the “ I shall not have her long,” he said, as he pale lips, dyeing them with its crimson stain, to concluded his narration to Ruth. “ That dreadthe hue of health. Tenderly, Ruth wiped it ful evening scene, and the night air acting upon away. She had been more or less than woman,
her feeble frame, has thrown her into a quick had she failed to do so. A smile, like that of decline. Poor little Agnes! She lives now the gels, thanked her; and then the little but in my love; and she will have that, Ruth, patient sufferer put her hand into Ruth's and
to the last moment of her sweet young life. fell asleep.
Ruth, I need not ask how you will act now. I While she slept, Richard told his story. had found her the night after a battle, lying on Gently Ruth put her hand into his. the field beside a dead soldier. She had fainted, “ Believe it, Richard ! I will do all that a but he restored her sufficiently for her to tell
woman can do for this poor child. I will not him that the soldier was her father, her all in leave her a moment, unless you or she desire it.” life. Around her were groups of lawless men And Richard accepted her words just as she who were struck with the perfect beauty of her spoke them. Night and day Ruth maintained sweet and innocent face, and were freely com- her post by that couch, bestowing the sweet menting upon it. She shrank from them all, ministry of a woman's best and holiest devotion and turned her appealing gaze upon Richard's to the sick. Agnes learned to watch every honest face, as if there indeed she might put motion, every glance, with a love as deep as her trust.
that with which she regarded Richard. He took her in his arms child as he thought Mrs. Ashton looked on, astonished. She had her — and bore her away from the scene. The mourned in secret, ever since they came, over soldiers — let us rejoice that they were rebel, Ruth's disappointment; but now, she saw what not Union soldiers — followed, uttering deep a true woman can sacrifice without repining; imprecations upon the man who had carried off and her admiration of the girl received new their prize.
strength. A church — a little ark of safety — was in Agnes died, and was buried close to the parhis way, as he ran on with his burden. The ents of Ruth; and then Richard Ashton went doors were open - a little wedding group, one back to fight his battles over again, while Ruth man and three women, and the minister, caught went back to her lonely house, with a look that his eye as he looked through the vestibule. spoke, not of unhappiness, but of inward peace
He set down his precious burden on the stairs and quiet. and then said to her, “ Where are your friends ?” Now that the battles, thank God! are over,
" I have none, God help me! since my father we shall have leisure to wonder what the widsi dead."
owed soldier will do next.
He know !”
BY ELIZA A. CHASE.
IRVING AND THE HUDSON. With the high pressure of the present age, the
Athenian propensity to see and to hear some
new thing, it seems impossible to us, that a T is surprising with what glamour the genius people, even approximating to those whom be
has so quaintly immortalized, could have existed adjacent country. The Highlands are so recently. But it is nevertheless true, that chanted; Tappan Zee is full of weird associa- even at this day, there may be found in the tions ; Dunderburg, Sleepy Hollow and Anto- outlying towns of the country bordering on the ny's Nose, have each its peculiar legend. The Hudson, persons and customs that strongly corrich, warm imagination that threw its grace
roborate the grave assertions of Diedrich over them, is at the same time, so quaint, so Knickerbocker, or suggest the admirable picapparently serious, that we find it hard to doubt tures of Goeffry Crayon. these wonderful stories, incredible, our reason It was my fortune to spend a couple of years assures us, but told with such an air of sincerity, in one of those good old Dutch settlements. I and certified by the mark of some Dutch bur- had been from childhood an ardent admirer of gomaster, that we almost insensibly give cre- Irving, but I had supposed that he drew as dence to the greatest improbabilities -- at least, largely on his imagination for his description of during their perusal. We are seized upon by character as for his four tales of diablerie; and the magic of the writer; we surrender ourselves I should as soon have expected to find a living to the fascination of the moment, too delighted prototype of the “grave roysterers ” who played to inquire whether “ these things be so.” at nine-pins with Rip Van Winkle as their
What can be more delicious than to read the flagon bearer, as of Herr Van Tassel and his wonderful adventures of Ichabod Crane, while taciturn neighbors. What was my surprise sauntering through stubbles and corn-fields in then to find among the older people, customs that dreamy, golden season, so admirably de- exactly like those of which I had so often read; scribed in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow? And their use of the parlor for instance. This was who, coming home on a summer's night, and kept closed as though there were enchantment being struck in the face by a “great blockhead within; and when on some exceptional occasion of a beetle in his blundering flight,” has not it was necessary to enter it, there was a kind of recalled the ghostly tales of Cotton Mather, awful preparation that instantly sent me back with which the immortalized pedagogue held to my childhood, when, seated at the foot of a his eager audience in terrible fascination ? chestnut, the silence around me unbroken, sare Where in all the galleries of books, can be found by the lazy ripple of the brook near by, or the a word picture more perfect than the descrip- occasional tinkle of a nut dropping on the tion of the birds, “the blue jay, that noisy russet leaves at my feet, I read the magic words coxcomb in his gay light-blue coat and white of Irving, and walked in an enchanted land. under-clothes, screaming and chattering, nod- First, a murmured consultation, next a solemn ding and bobbing and bowing, and pretending approach to the sacred door, then, the shoes to be on good terms with every songster in the left in the hall as if the owner were about to grove?" or that of the imaginary feast which enter on holy ground, the privileged individual
before drinking their tea take a little in their tices were sent far and near, the school-house mouths, precisely as described by Irving, though was opened at an early hour; the people for the improvement of the lump suspended from miles around assembled, and it is doubtful the ceiling by a string and passed to the com- whether the boards of the best theatre ever pany, never came under my personal observa- furnished an entertainment more completely tion; a fact by no means impeaching the satisfactory to an audience than was this. veracity of our author whose statements I now There was Abraham in red and yellow, sacreceive with much of the credulity of childhood. rificing Isaac in green, while the wood of the Changes steal over the land, and those innova- altar was decidedly blue. Jacob in cocked hat, ts and revolutionists, the steamboat and knee buckles and long sword, kissed Rachel in railroad, break the slumbering silence of many tight waist, short sleeves and high comb; an an antiquated hamlet.
anachronism borrowed no doubt from Giorgione Among these changes, is the desire for good the rival of Titian, and no more ridiculous than schools; the race of Ichabod Crane is extinct, that in “ St. Simeon in the Temple," by Eckand the present generation presents a great hout, when one is looking at the infant Savior contrast to the former. I once witnessed an through a pair of spectacles. There was “ Death original way of bookkeeping, practised by a on the Pale Horse," a grim skeleton on an exschool commissioner, a wealthy and intelligent ceedingly disproportioned, bare-ribbed, ghostly farmer with whom scientific modes were open steed, which produced such an alarming effect, questions. As treasurer and trustee of the that some of the good old ladies gave a scream, district, it was his duty to receive and pay out and one ejaculated something in halting English all moneys relating to school matters. This was about the day of judgment.” done by putting the money into an antiquated It was delightful visiting after this, and I bowl of deft ware, probably the heir-loom of made the most of it. The taciturnity of the some Dutch ancestor, and, when payments were worthy burghers and their credulous dames was to be made, taking out the required amount. now a thing of history ; and, amid clouds of As the bowl was used exclusively for this pur- tobacco smoke, and the spirited click of knitting pose, the accouut was easily balanced by count- needles, I listened to animated disquisitions on ing the money remaining. The reputed stolidity the late entertainment, which by many was firmly of the Hollander had not remained intact from believed to be a true representation of the realthe inquisitiveness of the Yankee, and a curiosity. The discussion was varied by an occasional ity that often betrayed a charming simplicity, episode in the shape of a ghost story, or how frequently excited in me a quiet smile. “I Hans Von Riper's garden was destroyed by a suppose you have rainbows in your country,” black fox which was proof against all bullets, till observed an honest farmer with a gravity that Hans, suspecting the truth, fired at it with some nearly upset mine.
silver buttons when it ran limping off, and old Campbell might be assured that, not in cases Fran Terwilliger who lived down by the bridge like these
alone, with an enormous black cat, had a broken
arm, caused by falling down stairs, she said ; Enchantment's veil withdraws."
but anybody could tell better than that ; with Another was searching diligently among the ominous shakes of the head; and how Sorchy Counties on a map of New York for a State Vandermeter's boy was spirited away soon after which he said had recently been admitted, but his father's death, and found in the midst of a the name of which he could not remember. I great patch of briers, with never a scratch on refrained from explaining the mistake of the him, though the men who found him were terold gentleman, and suggested the names of ribly torn in getting to him. several new States but did not succeed in nam- How well I recall the look pictured on every ing the right one. At length with a beam of countenance when, in the midst of one of these satisfaction on his placid face, he recalled the tales a hurried knock at the door was heard, forgotten name. It was the Empire State! On and Katy Ver Breyck, wife of Jacob Ver one particular occasion, the community was Breyck, a shilly shelly kind of fellow thought wide awake. A travelling showman made his by some to be half insane, came in, saying that appearance with flaming advertisements of a Jake had a crazy fit worse than ever, and had panorama, a “grand moral exhibition." No- gone off to kill himself she feared. Several
" Science from creation's face